Welcome to the Electron Microbeam Facility, located in Northrop Hall of the UNM Main Campus. This page gives details on our instrumentation, its capabilities and uses, and rates for usage and sample preparation. Please use the menu bar above or the links below to visit the page's various sections.

Technical Support

Two full-time staff positions are devoted to the maintenance and operation of the EMP facility. Beyond the day-to-day upkeep of the facility, these members of the Institute of Meteoritics are responsible for optimizing analytical conditions, establishing calibration procedures, conducting analyses, training new users, and assisting with the evaluation and interpretation of resulting data. In addition, our staff will conduct analyses on client samples. Samples may either be sent to our laboratory with adequate documentation for analysis or customers may elect to be present at the time of analysis in order to assist in identifying the sample locations (recommended).


The combination of the Electron Microprobe and Scanning Electron Microscope Allows for a number applications and specialization for a diverse range of fields of study. We list just a few of the projects that we have or are currently working on:

  • Archeology: Mineral chemistry and mineral phase analysis of potsherds to determine material source location.
  • Geology: Mineral analysis for determination of petrogenesis.
  • Planetary Science: High-resolution imaging and X-ray mapping of Martian meteorite ALH84001 to determine if suitable life environments exist on Mars. Chemical analysis of High Aluminum Silca Poor (HASP) glasses in Apollo mission lunar samples to further the understanding of crustal evolution on the Moon.
  • Industry: High-resolution surface imaging for the determination of the effects of Particle Beam bombardment.
  • Biology: Exploration for evidence of bacterial corrosion in caves.
  • Chemistry: Chemical analysis of vapor deposited thin films.
  • Medicine: Image and chemical analysis of respirable fibers.
  • Engineering: Chemical analysis of surface contamination deposits on Laser parts.


Follow this link for information on instrumentation available in the facility: The electron probe microanalyzer and the scanning electron microscope. Our facility can also arrange additional analytical support through both the Institute of Meteoritics and the UNM Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, including but not limited to Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD).

Usage Rates and Other Costs

Follow this link for hourly rates for instrument usage and for sample preparation costs.

Instrument manuals, Tutorials, and data retrieval

Follow this link to download user manuals for the instruments, for a set of comprehensive how-to guides, and for instructions on how to transfer data to your computer via FTP.

Contact us

For further information please contact:

Mike Spilde

Laboratory Manager
Institute of Meteoritics
MSC03 2050
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
E-mail: mspilde /at/ unm /dot/ edu

Phone: 505-277-5430
Fax: 505-277-3577